By ORI J. LENKINSKI
For Adi Salant, becoming co-artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company is ‘a big responsibility’ that she is happy to take on.
Like many Israeli teenagers, Adi Salant, when she was 18, packed a bag with a
bottle of water and some dance clothes and made her way to the Batsheva Dance
Company studios in the Suzanne Dellal Center. She joined the throngs of hopeful
young dancers wishing to find a place for themselves among the Batsheva Ensemble
or young company. However, unlike all those other talented youngsters, today,
nearly two decades later, Salant has just been promoted to co-artistic director
of the internationally acclaimed troupe.
“I got to Batsheva totally
excited to start working professionally with the ensemble,” said Salant of her
first day at Batsheva. “At Batsheva, it’s right to work; class and then the
repertoire that you have to start to perform. The Ensemble is intense. Dancers
are usually there for two years so the turnover is very rapid. You come and work
a full day and get right to it.”
Salant had spent many moons in
preparation for that fateful day, having begun dancing at the Bat Dor School as
a six-year-old. Once in the system, Salant spent two years in the Ensemble then
five in the main company.
Upon leaving the company in 2001, Salant began
the next stage of her relationship with Batsheva as an assistant to Ohad
She continued to work with the company in this way, teaching
repertoire alongside Naharin to companies abroad, even while she lived in
Denmark. During her time in Europe, Salant tried her hand at choreography.
Though she enjoyed this pursuit, Salant recognizes that for now, her own
creations will be transferred to the back burner.
In 2009, Salant
returned to Tel Aviv. Her decision was prompted by many factors, mainly a strong
desire to “come home” as she puts it. “It was a long time that I was abroad, and
I felt that if I didn’t come back now, [later] it might be too late. I felt that
it was the right time to make the change.
I had my first daughter so I
started to miss home a lot. I was always in touch with Ohad. Then the
opportunity came to come back to be the assistant to the artistic director and
everything fell into place.”
Last month, the directors of Batsheva,
namely artistic director Naharin, announced publicly that Salant would be taking
up the reins as co-artistic director. Salant’s official title had been assistant
artistic director to Naharin for several seasons prior to this
Naomi Bloch-Fortis, who co-directed the troupe with Naharin
for over a decade, left the position open in 2009.
Fortis/Naharin team, Batsheva rose from a local body to a world-class sensation.
When Fortis moved on, the company did not rush to replace her. Instead, it
continued to function, growing and exploring new territory each year. It would
appear that Batsheva was waiting for the right someone to come along, and that
that someone is Salant.
“I’m very excited about this position because
it’s another level of the relationship and collaboration with Ohad. It’s another
thing we are doing together and it shows... faith in my abilities. We are
continuing to grow together. It means a lot that he believes in me. It’s an
honor and a big responsibility that I am happy to take on,” said
Currently, Batsheva is working on a new piece by Naharin, which
is set to premier in April 2013. The Ensemble will also premier a new evening in
2013, featuring two works. London powerhouse Hofesh Shechter will set his
award-winning piece Uprising on the young dancers and former Batsheva dancer
Daniel Agami will create a new work. In addition, both the main company and the
Ensemble continue to perform repertoire by Naharin and Sharon Eyal in Israel and
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